Trump tweeted yesterday, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”
The first thing you have to do is fact check that. Nothing stated by the Trump administration can be taken at face value. They’ve already announced their intention to lie at every turn.
So, ABC7 out of Chicago is reporting that there have been 37 murders and 250 shot so far in Chicago in January 2017. The Chicago Tribune is reporting 243 shooting victims so far this year. After some Googling, I did manage to find Trump’s exact numbers in a Chicago Tribune article from Monday.
Okay, then. That appears to be true. Next comes the “I will send in the Feds!” bit, and no one seems to have a clear idea what Trump might mean here.
The Guardian reports that President Obama had already sent in federal help for the gun violence issues in Chicago: “The Obama administration had already assigned dozens of federal agents to assist the city, including 52 agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and about 120 FBI agents.”
So “the Feds” have already been sent in.
Now, either Trump is uninformed about what’s been done in Chicago, already – completely possible – or he’s maybe talking about activating the National Guard.
I’m not 100% clear on how calling up the National Guard works (you can read some about it on Wikipedia), but it’s mostly a state affair. The governor of Illinois (Bruce Rauner, republican) would have to declare a state of emergency and activate the National Guard, and you can do that for natural or man-made disasters, like tornadoes and hurricanes and whatnot, and you can do it to keep the peace, like they did with the Ferguson protests.
If I’m reading things right, you can federalize the National Guard under certain circumstances and deploy them that way, but I’m not sure you can deploy them like that in the US, or for how long, or how all that works. I want to say you can’t without a declaration of Martial Law, but I’m not sure that’s right. (Feel free to supply me with correct information on Twitter or Facebook if you want.)
Either way, sending in the National Guard would be a pretty frickin’ drastic response. I don’t think we’ve done anything like that in modern times.